"She assumed that I did not speak Swedish."

Translation:Hon antog att jag inte talade svenska.

December 16, 2014

This discussion is locked.


Why is it "jag inte talade" and not "jag talade inte" here?


In subordinate clauses, the adverb (inte) comes before the verb. It’s a tricky feature of Swedish. Look at these examples:

  • Det regnar inte i dag. (It doesn’t rain today.)
  • Jag gick ut, eftersom det inte regnade. (I went out, since it didn’t rain.)

  • Han kommer alltid. (He always comes.)

  • Jag tror att han alltid kommer. (I think that he always comes.)

The subordinate clause can also come first:

  • Eftersom bussen ofta är försenad, kommer hon sent till jobbet. (Since the bus is often late, she is late for work.)
  • När jag inte jobbar, lagar jag mat. (When I don’t work, I cook.)

Watch out for words like att, eftersom, när, since they’re often followed by a subordinate clause and pay attention to the word order then.


Tack så mycket för förklaringen!


But in this case, the verb isn't at the second position in the subordinate clause. Am I right?


In main clauses, the rule is that the verb goes second. In subclauses, the rule is that the subject goes before the verb. (plus, as Lundgren8 said, inte also goes before the verb).


Hi. So, I've finally found a good place to ask this question : I don't understand the distinction between the kind of (sub-)clause where it's "[subject] inte [verb]", and the kind where it's "inte [verb] [subject]"

In this example, if "I did not speak Swedish" is a subclause, why don't we say "talade jag" (instead of "jag talade"), and if it is not, why do we say "inte talade" (instead of "talade inte")?



att is a conjunction here, so normal word order rules apply to each clause adjacent to it. But the latter clause is still technically a subclause, so you still move adverbs like inte in front of the verb.


So, if I get this correctly, all subclauses have the "inte before the verb" rule, but only subclauses which are not introduced by a conjunction applies the "verb before subject" verb. Right?


That is my understanding as well. I'm very tired today so I can't think of counterexamples, at least.


That's awesome. Thanks a lot.


Your explanation is very clear. Thank you very much for this great post!


l hope there's a module further down the tree that gives lots of exercises for structures like this. It would be good to learn them well rather than just having one random sentence.


There are more such sentences, but I don't think they're bundled in a specific lesson. Might be a good idea for the future, though.


Why inte is before verb


Adverbials such as inte go before the verb in subclauses.


vad ar differensen melan pratade och talade?


Why PRATADE is not accepted?


We do accept pratade, actually. Do you remember the full phrase you used?


Why does it say the correct answer is Hon antog att jag inte kunde svenska? Isn't kunde could rather than talk?


The suggested answer is Hon antog att jag inte talade svenska. But all accepted answers can be shown as 'another correct answer' (it tries to match your input to the closest accepted answer).
A closer translation of …att jag inte kunde svenska would be '…that I did not know Swedish'.


varför "hon förutsätte att jag inte kunde svenska" är fel?


förutsatte is fine but was missing - I've added that now.

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